Heads Up! For When All You Can See is Your Own Two Feet

woman with face lifted to sky

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3 ESV

There are days and seasons in this life that have a way of capturing our full attention leaving us unable to see or think about anything else. Some situations may be temporary emergencies. Others join our story and take up residence for the long haul – often consuming us in a way that pushes everything else in life aside. Over time we lose perspective and grow weary.

This thought brings me back to a workshop I attended years ago about building social skills for children on the autism spectrum. It was led by psychologist Scott Bellini who specializes in building social skills and social cognition in children and adolescents on the autism spectrum.

I have never forgotten something he had us do at the beginning of his workshop that day. He wanted to give everyone in the room an idea of what it felt like to be impaired in communicating with another. He asked us to face a person near us that we did not know and then instructed us to look down at the ground and not lift our heads while we introduced ourselves to one another and asked each other questions to get to know one another better. He was trying to simulate what it was like to have our non-verbal communication impaired or, in this demonstration, mostly removed. Most experts agree that 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal. (source)

Everyone in the room confirmed their discomfort and struggled to engage the other person when the only view they had was of feet and floor. 

Life is so much better when we can see beyond our own two feet…or even the feet of another.

When the exercise was over, we raised our heads. Our view of the situation and each other was enlarged. Now we could see not only the one standing across from us but the entire room. Lifting our heads had brought context to the situation, and we all found it easier to engage one another and the workshop.

In our hard seasons – whether it is our situation or sin or someone else’s – we are drawn in and often consumed in part or in whole. It can seem impossible for us to lift our heads back up, to see beyond ourselves or the circumstance to the context and find hope and experience rest. 

But that is what we need – to lift our heads and see:

  • beyond ourselves
  • beyond each other
  • up to the One who was lifted up on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins and resurrection to new life

If you have ever experienced this head-down posture, then you feel the tension of knowing you need to lift your head up but feeling utterly incapable of raising it even an inch. 

King David was well acquainted with a downcast all consumed posture, but thankfully for us, he was also acquainted with the one who lifted heads and liked to write Psalms about it which we can read anytime we want.

In Psalm 3, David writes in the midst of a trying season. His son, Absalom, had turned on him and staged a coup, taking over the kingdom. David had many enemies after him, no idea when or if his kingdom would be restored, or if he would live or die. In this Psalm, we hear that his enemies taunt him by saying, “there is no salvation for him in God.” Essentially they were saying there is no hope for him. He is hopeless.

Psalm 3:1-5 reads,

1 O Lord, how many are my foes!

    Many are rising against me;

2 many are saying of my soul,

    “There is no salvation for him in God.” 

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,

    my glory, and the lifter of my head.

4 I cried aloud to the Lord,

    and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

5 I lay down and slept;

    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

I love that David cries out to God who answers him and in the next verse, lays down and sleeps and wakes again because the Lord sustained him. (Psalm 3:8)

It was the Lord who lifted His head.

What is it about David’s Lord that He can be such a trusted head lifter? David put his hope and trust in the One who could lift David’s head, the same Lord who knew what it was to be rejected, mocked, hunted, and wanted dead.

He is the same Lord who was mocked as David was – when those watching him die an unjust death on a cross taunted him with the words, “there is no salvation for him in God.”

At the end of this Psalm, David speaks back to the naysayers telling them, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

Because the Lord was lifted up on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins, we can trust Him to lift our heads – to see the context of our story in His Story. To see His compassionate heart that propelled Him to the cross so that we could be free of the bondage of sin and death.

Bible scholar FF Bruce says that “to lift the head was to restore to a position of freedom or dignity.”  

Our head down position often indicates bondage, shame, or grief. BUT GOD – through Jesus – frees us continually from these bonds. 

Some of the practical ways my head has been lifted in the hard times are:

  • Reading His Word.
  • Listening to the Word proclaimed.
  • Faithful prayer of a trusted friend.
  • Gathering with other believers in worship.
  • Experiencing the Word embodied in a fellow follower of Jesus.

There are so many tangible ways He lifts our eyes back to Him again – as only He can do.

In this world, it is easy to find ourselves captured or captivated by circumstance to the point our view of Jesus is obscured.

It is a rhythm of grace to us that HE is the lifter of our head. His grace is more captivating than anything this life can bring our way to try to pull our gaze down. He not only lifts our heads but fixes our gaze on eternity with Him.

If you are head down in something hard right now, rest assured Jesus never grows weary of lifting your head.

4 thoughts on “Heads Up! For When All You Can See is Your Own Two Feet”

  1. Kim, this is so encouraging and uplifting. What a unique perspective and experience you shared to help us “shift” our gaze back up. There are so many good reasons to.

  2. Thank you. This is so beautiful. “to lift our heads and see beyond…up to the One” It makes me think about how He is the One seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly realm (Colossian 3)… fixing our gaze on Him naturally orients our head into a right posture of “freedom” and “dignity.”

    1. Thank you. Colossians 3 is a beautiful picture of a seated Jesus – having finished His work on the cross. That truth always lifts my head 🙂

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